A Labour peer has narrowly failed in a bid to introduce greater powers for police to inspect and search scrap metal yards.
Lord Rosser last night proposed an amendment to the Protection of Freedoms Bill to increase powers of entry in a bid to counter soaring metal theft.
Members of the House of Lords defeated the motion by 201 votes to 195 meaning it will not be progressed further.
Lord Rosser told peers: “The purpose of this amendment is to provide for strengthened and new powers of entry for the police to enter and inspect known or suspected scrap metal dealer premises, and any metal and records kept on the premises, as well as powers to close down dealerships should those premises be suspected of being used for knowingly handling stolen material.
“At present the police are able to enter only registered premises but this amendment will give the right to enter premises irrespective of whether they are entered on the register, as well as the power to close dealerships.”
Clauses to ban cash transactions for scrap metal and increase fines for trading stolen material will be added to the Legal and Sentencing Bill currently before Parliament.